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Historic Gem 1869 Seated Dollar
An Important Condition Rarity

1869 $1 MS65 PCGS. CAC. It is one of the great ironies of America's mining history that it had two major gold rushes before its first big silver rush. The southeastern U.S. saw gold-only branch mints rise in Charlotte and Dahlonega in the 1830s, while the late 1840s and 1850s saw the rise of California, the "Golden State," but it was not until the 1860s that Nevada emerged as the "Silver State," making the jump from territory to statehood in 1864. The silver from Nevada began to restore the nation's bimetallic balance, which a decade-plus of California gold production had thrown off, and as production at the Comstock Lode ramped up in the late 1860s, so too did strikings of silver dollars.
That is the connection made by Q. David Bowers in Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States, though he notes the considerable scholarly disagreement over the purpose to which the late 1860s Seated dollars were put. He cites a pair of authorities who claim that the pieces were made for export, including a former Comptroller of the Currency, but counterbalances their opinions with that of R.W. Julian, who wrote for the book: "That some of these dollars did got to the Orient I again have no doubt, but I think that there was less than 25,000 annually and perhaps considerably less..."
Certainly the late 1860s Seated dollars are about as available in lesser grades as their earliest With Motto counterparts, though as always, there are variations at the highest levels. Among the best-preserved 1869 Seated dollars is this Gem, which clearly never saw circulation, either domestically or overseas. The luster is boldly reflective, setting up contrast on the reverse, and the light golden overtone across each side deepens to amber and violet along the bottom reverse rim. Population: 2 in 65, 2 finer (7/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24ZC, PCGS# 6962)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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